What modern American novels or group of short stories (other than Nick Adams stories & The Bell Jar) are based on author autobiography?These works must be fictional, although based in...

What modern American novels or group of short stories (other than Nick Adams stories & The Bell Jar) are based on author autobiography?

These works must be fictional, although based in autobiography.

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Fitzgerald wrote two novels that were largely autobiographically based, Tender is the Night and This Side of Paradise.

More autobiographical than his other works, Tender Is the Night tells the story of American psychologist Dick Diver and his wife, the wealthy but psychologically unstable Nicole.

This Side of Paradise is a coming of age tale of a student in college undergoing spiritual maturation and seeking guidance from a mentor. The story is very much like Fitzgerald's own.

Another novel of the modern period based on autobiography is To the Lighthouse by Viriginia Woolf. This novel is not concerned with plot to any great extent, but some of the ruminations and characters are drawn from Woolf's real life. 

Looking to more contemporary works, many of James Baldwin's novels are autobiographically based. This is true of his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain.

Baldwin's frist novel follows the development of a young man through his experiences with the church as well as depicting the lives of his parents before they came to the north. Baldwin, in his actual life, was raised in the church and became a preacher at a very young age. 

There is a strong autobiographical aspect to the novel, as many of the details in John's life mirror those in Baldwin's life, including his impoverished upbringing in Harlem, his angry vitriolic father, his fascination with an older male church member and his religious conversion at age fourteen.

A more recent popular novel that uses the author's autobiography as the base of a work of fiction is Kathleen Stockett's book, The Help.

Stockett uses the broad outlines of her personal experiences being raised with an African American maid in Mississippi as the core of her novel on racial and identity issues in the South. 


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